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LKIM asked to probe fish shortage

ALOR SETAR, 20 Jan 2009: The Malaysian Fisheries Development Board (LKIM) has been asked to investigate and overcome the shortage of fish supply in the country which has pushed up the market price of the item despite the numerous incentives given to fishers.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said the government had no idea as to what was causing the shortage and wanted the LKIM to take immediate action to resolve it.

He disclosed this to reporters after an inspection on prices of goods at the Pasar Besar Alor Setar, here today.

The minister said monitoring of the Price Control Scheme for the Chinese New Year Festive Season this year was being carried out for two weeks beginning one week before the Chinese New Year.

“I’m wondering why the various incentives given such as the fish landing incentive of 10 sen per kilogramme, workers allowance and the diesel subsidy have not shown any results,” he said.

Shahrir said the government did not intend to increase imports to overcome the shortage and stabilise the price because the quality of imported fish was not the same as the ones caught by local fishers.

On the campaign to reduce the price of goods since it was launched in October last year, he said 18 hypermarkets and supermarkets which were leading the modern retailing business were responding to the campaign.

“The government wants consumers to buy at a fair and reasonable price while traders can set a reasonable margin after taking into account their cost. This objective has been achieved and I’m happy although not fully satisfied,” he said.

He said the supply of major food items such as chicken, meat, vegetables and controlled items for the Chinese New Year was sufficient and the prices were generally below the controlled price levels.

On the fuel price, Shahrir said the government had no intention of reducing the price of petrol and fuel in the near future as the world price of oil had not changed significantly in the past two weeks.

He said the government was still maintaining the present mechanism of studying the world price of crude oil every two weeks before making any change in the retail price.

“In the fortnight up to 15 Jan, the price of crude oil was above US$42 per barrel and it fell to below US40 per barrel for only three or four days,” he said. — Bernama


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